CSE1110 Programming Goals

A program has 3 major components - Input, Process, and Output.  Put in simple terms, the programmer needs to be able to put data into the computer so that it has something to work with.  There needs to be a process, or a set of instructions for the computer to follow to decide what to do with the data.  Finally, the results need to be put out in some format that is clearly understood.

A simple example could be calculating the area of a rectangle.  We need to provide the computer with a length and a width, then we need to tell the computer what to do with them (multiply the values together) and then we need to display the answer.

When you are learning to program, you will be the programmer AND the user of the program.  In real life, those are usually different roles held by different people.  One of the main values of computers is the ability to do similar jobs many times utilizing input information but retaining the same process.  If we use the area example again, let's say that we want to calculate many different areas based on different lengths and widths.  We also want to write the program so that someone else can use it since quite often this person knows nothing about programming.  The programmer is handing over control of the input to the user by using variables (we will talk more about this later).  The programmer would create two variables, let's call them 'length' and 'width', and ask the user to provide the new values.  Then the program would multiply the variables together and provide an output, usually with some clarifying text like "the area for a rectangle is 744 sq. meters."

For this course, we will be learning the following:

  1. The beginning language, or vocabulary and grammar, or Python.
  2. How to generate Output (how to mane the computer talk to us).
  3. What data the computer can understand (numbers, letters, special characters, operators, etc.).
  4. What kinds of things computers can do with data.
  5. How to use variables to accept Input from a user.